How do I know if my car is overheating?

My car has been acting really weird lately and I’m trying to figure out if it’s overheating. My temperature light hasn’t worked in a long time, so it’s of little help. How else can I tell? What happens when your car overheats?

Usually, the temperature light or gauge is the easiest way to know if your car is overheating.
Since yours isn’t in working condition, here are a few other signs that your car is overheating:
  • Your car smells hot. Excessive heat will cause a peculiar smell to radiate from your vehicle that can only be described as smelling hot. You would certainly know it if it was there.
  • You hear a ticking sound coming from your engine. This may indicate that the oil is hot and has become too thin to properly lubricate the engine.
  • You see coolant on the ground. This could be a sign that your cooling system has a leak. Without the cooling system, your engine has no way of regulating temperature and will eventually overheat.
  • You see steam coming from your hood. This is an indicator that your engine is boiling coolant and needs to be shut off immediately.
  • Your hood feels hot. If the hood of your vehicle is too hot for you to rest your hand on for 10 seconds, this is another sign of severe overheating.
If something seems off with your car, you should have it looked at by a professional before you find yourself on the side of the road. However, if your vehicle does overheat, keep calm. Either wait for the engine to cool down or call a tow truck.
Concerned about your car breaking down? Try a roadside assistance membership with Jerry. Jerry’s roadside assistance membership protects you with its nationwide network of 55,000+ service providers.
Chloe Jenkins
Answered on Oct 21, 2021

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